Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tar Sand Oil Pipelines Pose Exceptional Hazards, Report Says

A devastating spill in 2010 into the Kalamazoo River in neighboring Michigan from an Enbridge company tar sand pipeline revealed weak regulations and high risks for moving the toxic, oily goo - - "dilbit" to insiders - -from Canada to the US, and there are plans to move even greater quantities across Wisconsin and over the critical US Ogallala Aquifer from the Dakotas to the Gulf of Mexico, says this report in The New York Times.

After the dilbit gushed into the river, it began separating into its constituent parts...No one could say with certainty what they should do. Federal officials at the scene didn’t know until weeks later that the pipeline was carrying dilbit, because federal law doesn’t require pipeline operators to reveal that information. 

The 2010 spill could have been worse if it had reached Lake Michigan, as authorities originally feared it might. Lake Michigan supplies drinking water to more than 12 million people. Fortunately, the damage was restricted to a tributary creek and about 36 miles of the Kalamazoo, used primarily for recreation, not drinking water. 

This close call hasn’t deterred the energy industry from announcing plans to build or repurpose more than 10,000 miles of pipelines to carry dilbit to the United States and global markets. That includes the controversial Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline, which would pass through the Ogallala aquifer, the nation’s largest drinking water aquifer.


Anonymous said...

The tar sands are laying around on the ground in Canada: we clean them up and pump them here and when there is a spill we temporarily experience what the tar sands area are like naturally. It is still better to clean up that natural tar sands area and pump it down here to be used as energy. This is actually the biggest environmental clean up project in history.

Anonymous said...

Of all the insane things ever said, that's got to rank tops.

You idiots managed to poison the tar sands zone. It will take decades for the fish in those rivers by Ft. McMurray to be safe to eat again.

Boxer said...

"Fortunately, the damage was restricted to a tributary creek and about 36 miles of the Kalamazoo, used primarily for recreation, not drinking water. "

ONLY 36 miles of the Kalamzoo????? That's a lot of river, folks. But it's not used for drinking water so that makes it OK? "Only used for recreation:" canoeing, fishing (no thanks, I'll have the beef) and oh yeah, aquatic habitat, and other wildlife's food water source.

This price is too high.

And Anonymous One: you are ignorant. There's nothing clean about the tar sands in Canada and they're not just lying around waiting to be picked up and drop-shipped to TX. There's nothing natural in extraction, processing and pipelining. Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to extract the oil from the tar sands? How much environmental destruction is caused by extraction methods? (It's similar to open-pit mining, look up the before and after aerial pictures). How many thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals (that do not magically disappear--ever) are used to extract and process the sands for shipping--and THEN these same chemicals leak into groundwater and wells anywhere along the pipeline route?

I have to disagree slightly with Anonymous Two: it will be centuries for the fish to be edible and the water drinkable again.

When the oil and pipeline execs are willing to locate their own families along the pipeline route and next door to the refineries and tar sand mines, that's the day I'll stand up and yell Glory Hallelujah for tar sands!

Anonymous One, you'd be wise to obtain some actual information before you post more happy horseshit.

Anonymous said...

Do you seriously believe that the tar sands are not a natural feature which is formed by petroleum oozing out into the landscape from below the surface? It is pretty obvious that oil is a natural occurring feature of the planet and we have the ability to take this and make energy from it or just let it lay there and pollute the surface.

Anonymous said...

You are severely deluded.

Anonymous said...

Even if the tar sands were just lying around on the surface landscape (which they are not), is it better to leave toxic lakes behind after this so called tar sands clean up?

Try doing a little research and learn something about the subject before posting nonsense.